biography

“…this brilliant young musician [is] someone to watch, someone who can take us to new vistas and teach us to listen with very different ears.”

–Tony Woodcock, The Huffington Post

“There’s absolutely nothing that anybody should ever ask you about [your song “Mirror Child”] other than say it is wonderful. Extraordinary. Beautiful.”

–Elvis Costello

Born into a musical family in northern New Jersey, Kirsten Lamb grew up surrounded by a wide variety of music and musicians. A multi-instrumentalist from an early age, Kirsten played piano, violin, and guitar before starting the double bass at age thirteen. She quickly shifted focus to the bass because its versatility matched her growing curiosity for different styles of music.

Kirsten continued her studies of the double bass at the Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, OH under the tutelage of Thomas Sperl, of the Cleveland Orchestra, and Peter Dominguez, Professor of Jazz Studies and Double Bass. She explored the field of Ethnomusicology though classes, ensembles, and private lessons, studying Indian classical music with sitarist Hasu Patel, hand drums and percussion with Jamey Haddad, and participating in the Oberlin Kora Ensemble directed by Roderic Knight. She additionally began playing viola da gamba and studied with Catharina Meints.

Kirsten participated in the Oberlin Orchestras, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble, as well as being a frequent member of smaller folk and jazz ensembles. While at Oberlin, Kirsten was encouraged to sing while playing, which led to the development of her unique style of solo performance.

After graduating from Oberlin in 2009, Kirsten moved to Boston, MA, where she quickly became well-known in the folk, bluegrass, international and jazz scenes around New England.In 2012, she traveled to Amsterdam with Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band to perform at the International Jewish Music Festival, where they won the Audience Choice Award, the City Winery Prize for Best Klezmer Ensemble, and Kirsten was publicly acknowledged by the festival judges for her performance.

In 2013, Kirsten began a Master of Music Degree in Contemporary Improvisation at the New England Conservatory. There she studied double bass and voice with Cecil McBee, Dominique Eade, Hankus Netsky, Carla Kihlstedt, and Anthony Coleman. Highlights from her time at NEC include debuting several original solo works in Jordan Hall, playing an original song at a workshop with Elvis Costello and receiving rave reviews from both Costello and the Huffington Post, earning praise from the Boston Globe for her “versatility and assurance” in John Zorn’s 35-year retrospective concert, and actively participating in NEC’s community outreach program. Upon her graduation in May 2015, Kirsten was awarded the Gunther Schuller Medal for “extraordinary contributions to the life of New England Conservatory.”

Kirsten regularly performs and records on double bass and voice all over the United States and occasionally around the world. She has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kimmel Center, The Kennedy Center, Het Compagnietheater, The Ottawa Folk Festival, Blue Note Jazz Club, The Massachusetts State House, The Museum of Fine Arts, and The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. An active member of Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band, Cold Chocolate, Klezperanto, Mierlita, and the Alfaia Quartet, Kirsten has also shared a stage with David Grisman, Theodore Bikel, Gil Scott-Heron’s Midnight Band, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, among others.

An avid teacher, Kirsten maintains a private studio and is on Double Bass Faculty for the Wellesley Public Schools, Bridge Boston Charter School, Dana Hall School of Music, and New England Conservatory’s Jazz Lab. She holds a weekly teaching residency through Young Audiences of Massachusetts serving Horizons for Homeless Children, and another through the Brookline Early Education Program serving Brookline Public Schools. Additionally, Kirsten is a frequent guest teaching artist and workshop leader at universities and grade schools all over Greater Boston.

Kirsten is currently working on a debut full-length CD of original music featuring solo and ensemble compositions. For information about upcoming performance and other news, please subscribe to Kirsten’s mailing list.